Today’s post is the Japanese noodle shop of your dreams. Located in Itaewon on the main stretch, it’s one of Seoul’s rare gems. Hidden in plain sight, I have walked past this ramen restaurant dozens of times and have always figured it was worth trying out but seemed to forget about it until now. Last week I went with my adorable friend Jeanie and had some of the best food I have had in weeks! I’m loath to share it as it’s such a great find, but you know I would never do that to my faithful readers.
When we arrived on a Saturday afternoon the place was bustling, and I can only imagine it will get busier as winter starts to turn. There is a big long counter for singles and an array of tables for two jam-packed into the tiny space, so get ready to breathe in if you want to get into your seat. The waitress brought the menu over which was presented in this adorable wooden box on wafer thin paper. The menu consists of various kinds of noodles in soups, with optional extra toppings, though I personally don’t think you need them. They also have gyozas, which are Japanese dumplings, I sadly didn’t try them and I’m kicking myself for it now. I think another trip will soon be imminent.
After a good old browse of the menu I decided to order the Tonkotsu Ramen (7,000). Which is noodles in a pork broth, topped with pork chasyu, egg, bean sprouts and pak choi. This dish was so unbelievably tasty that I really couldn’t fathom how it was only 7,000 won. The noodles are exquisitely hand made, and in a broth so rich and full of flavour it almost tastes like gravy (English gravy, not American). I could eat that soup every day for the rest of my life and live in a perpetual state of bliss. The amount of pork given was also generous, there were the two pieces on top and I also found a piece underneath my noodles, with the egg and pak choi it was the perfect meal. They also serve a side of kimchi style vegetables for those that enjoy them. I really cant recommend this dish enough, I’d marry it if I could!
My partner in crime ordered the Miso Ramen (7,500). A miso based pork broth with noodles, stir fried vegetables, chopped chasyu, egg, scallions, and spinach. Again the miso broth was very rich and full bodied. It was a nice contrast to the Tonkotsu. It had just the right balance of saltiness to make it indescribably tasty. Another winning dish it was just so wonderful, I cant wait to try out the rest of the menu.
As well as the wonderful noodles, they also have a few sakes and beers available, for those who like a truly authentic experience. The most fantastic thing about Menya Sandaime is that they are open 24 hours a day! Around the clock, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and midnight snacks can all be eaten here. So next time you are starving after a hard nights drinking, forget about Kebabs and Taco Bell and get yourself a big bowl of sexy noodles.
Menya Sandaime is located at 126-17 Itaewon 1(il)-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea. To get there take a train to Itaewon station (line 6) come out of exit 3. Walk straight for about 200 meters. It’s on the right before you get to Soft Tree. For more information you can call on 02-790-4129.